Verse > George William Russell > Collected Poems by A.E.
George William (“A. E.”) Russell (1867–1935).  Collected Poems by A.E.  1913.
127. The Twilight of Earth
THE WONDER of the world is o’er:
  The magic from the sea is gone:
There is no unimagined shore,
  No islet yet to venture on.
The Sacred Hazels’ blooms are shed,        5
The Nuts of Knowledge harvested.
Oh, what is worth this lore of age
  If time shall never bring us back
Our battle with the gods to wage
  Reeling along the starry track.        10
The battle rapture here goes by
In warring upon things that die.
Let be the tale of him whose love
  Was sighed between white Deirdre’s breasts,
It will not lift the heart above        15
  The sodden clay on which it rests.
Love once had power the gods to bring
All rapt on its wild wandering.
We shiver in the falling dew,
  And seek a shelter from the storm:        20
When man these elder brothers knew
  He found the mother nature warm,
A hearth fire blazing through it all,
A home without a circling wall.
We dwindle down beneath the skies,        25
  And from ourselves we pass away:
The paradise of memories
  Grows ever fainter day by day.
The shepherd stars have shrunk within,
The world’s great night will soon begin.        30
Will no one, ere it is too late,
  Ere fades the last memorial gleam,
Recall for us our earlier state?
  For nothing but so vast a dream
That it would scale the steeps of air        35
Could rouse us from so vast despair.
The power is ours to make or mar
  Our fate as on the earliest morn,
The Darkness and the Radiance are
  Creatures within the spirit born.        40
Yet, bathed in gloom too long, we might
Forget how we imagined light.
Not yet are fixed the prison bars;
  The hidden light the spirit owns
If blown to flame would dim the stars        45
  And they who rule them from their thrones:
And the proud sceptred spirits thence
Would bow to pay us reverence.
Oh, while the glory sinks within
  Let us not wait on earth behind,        50
But follow where it flies, and win
  The glow again, and we may find
Beyond the Gateways of the Day
Dominion and ancestral sway.


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